THE Zarahites, Milesians, or Scotii, as previously noted in Chapter V., had "never been in bondage to any man" (John 8:33), nor stooped under the yoke of an alien power. As the Ibharim ("chosen" or "elected",), the descendants of Zarah of the "Scarlet Thread" (Gen. 38:27-30; 46:8 and 12), they quitted Egypt before the days of the Nubian Pharaoh Sequen-en-Ra, - 'the New King over Egypt, which knew not Joseph" (Exod. 1:8), who reduced the Children of Israel to bondage - and had settled in the Iberian Peninsula, so named from its constituting their domicile. And when the Carthaginian General, Hamilcar Barca; his son-in-law Hasdrubal, and his heroic son Hannibal, sought (238-228 B.c.) to reduce them to the authority of the Punic State, they again "elected" to leave their adopted country rather than submit to foreign domination.
Now that King Murtough, the last "Ardath," or Head King of Ireland of the Dano-Asherian House, was dead, leaving no heirs-male, and the Overlordship of the country had passed into the hands of the despised Kelts, who were "aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel" (Eph. 2:12); the Scotii or Scots, chafing and restless under the new regime, again prepared for migration to "other fields and pastures new," being resolved on maintaining their freedom intact and unsullied as they had received it from their ancestors of the Nile Valley and the "Iberian's Land" - Spain.
The Hour, the Opportunity and the Man.
The "Set time had come" when, according to the "Purposes" of The Eternal (Psa. 102:13; Isaiah 14:24, 26 and 27, 55:8-11), the "Sceptre of Judah" and "Shepherd Stone of Israel" were to be transported to that other of the "Isles beyond the Sea" (Gen. 49:10 and 24; Jer. 25:22; Isaiah 66:19), where they now remain; and where they will continue to rest until their restitution into the Hands of Him Whose property they are, - "The Blessed and Only Potentate, the King of them that reign as kings, and Lord of them that rule as lords" (1 Tim. 6:15, R.V.) - in the ancient land of their origin.
The loose aggregation of Keltic clans and septs constituting what was then called Caledonia, owning but a nominal allegiance to the Pictish monarch who held his Dun, Caer, or Court at Perth (ever at strife among themselves and little bound by any mandates issued by their shadowy suzerain), presented a picture of weakness and confusion to any bold adventurers eager for the possession of land upon which to settle. And the Beacon Hill at the head of the Strone Glen, the southern extremity of the Mull of Kintyre, seemed to beckon across the North Channel to the hardy bands of Scots, now gathering at Fair Head on emigration bent to the shores of Caledonia.
The Leader of this intrepid band of Scottish warriors, Zeargus or Feargus Mac Earca, was one who from his high lineage and personal qualities merited in every way their confidence and obedience, for was he not, on his father Muireadhach's side, descended from a long line of princes of the younger branch of the House of Judah, the Zarahites of Egypt and Iberia? and on his Mother Earca's, did he not inherit the Chieftainship of the elder and royal branch of the Tribe? thus uniting in his own person all the regal claims attaching to this favoured Section of the Israelitish nation. Besides this, he was the custodian of the venerated emblems of Israel's power and dignity, which had accompanied the descendants of the last of the Patriarchs in all their wanderings "when they went from one nation to another, and from one people to another nation" (Psa. 105:13).
Historians have wearied themselves in quest of the reason why this Founder of the Kingdom of Argyll, Zeargus or Feargus Mac Earca (his mother's and not his father's cognomen), was so designated. The above remarks should furnish the clue to this mystery. But really the ignorance of persons who have been content to obtain their knowledge of the ancient "Land of Ham" and "Field of Zoan," "Iberia," and "the Isles afar off" ... which should "declare My Glory among the nations," out of the "broken cisterns" of Greece and Rome, is simply colossal and appalling (Psa. 105:23; 78:12; Isaiah 66:19; Jer. 2:13).
The Landing on Kintyre.
Whether King Muireadhach was dead or not before Zeargus Mac Earca or Feargus More (the "Great"), undertook this expedition into Caledonia, I do not know, nor can I discover; but it is certain that the little armada sailed from Cushen-dan, or "black-town" (Heb. Cush - "black"), on the Antrim Coast, and the band of invaders landed at Rudha Mharaiche (Heb. Ruhamah, "having obtained favor") somewhere about 485 A.D.
It is my settled intention not to dip more deeply than I am actually obliged into the romantic and eventful history of the Northern Sister-Kingdom - fascinating beyond measure though this is - for two good and valid reasons; first I do not possess the mantle of the "Wizard of the North," and my poor pen could not possibly aspire to such a lofty attempt,
"A theme for Homer's rage! for Milton's mighty hand!
How much unmeet for us, a faint degenerate band" -
and, second, such would be foreign to my original purpose, which was to trace the migration of Judah's Sceptre and the Stone of Destiny (those hoar relics of Israel's bygone glories), to their present locations, and endeavor to show the mysterious Providence which directed and overlooked all these many and wonderful transitions.
Gradually, and after much stubborn fighting, Feargus Mac Earca and his sturdy Scots won their way up the peninsula of Kintyre until sufficient land was acquired to merit a worthier name than Settlement; and at Kintraw (Heb.: Kenaz, "this nest"; Tur, "rock" or "strength"), near to the Southern extremity of Loch Awe, the Kingdom of Ardgyll or Argyll (Heb. Ard, "Commander," and Giloh, "he that overturns" or that "discovers"), was inaugurated, about the year 487 A.D., or two years after the landing of the Scots on the Mull of Kintyre.
Feargus More had also possessed himself of all the Southern Hebrides (Heb. Heber, "one over the flood" or "passage "); and they particularly prized the island of Hy (Heb. Hi, "the island") or Iona, off the Western extremity of the Ross of Mull, which they regarded with peculiar sanctity.
Before his "hallowing as king" - for Feargus More was a Christian, the Gospel having been accepted throughout Ireland for upwards of a generation by the Scotii of Ireland before he left it - he sent to Tara for the Lia Fail, or Stone of Destiny, upon which all the Irish Kings had been crowned since 580 B.C., and he was consecrated upon this sacred block. Although no mention is made of the Sceptre of Judah as having been used on this solemn occasion, we may be very sure that the "Ruler's Staff" (Gen. 49. 10, R.V.), the great emblem of Judah's precedence in Israel, was not overlooked.
Coincidence of Scottish and Anglo-Saxon Invasion of England.
It should be noted that both before and during Feargus More's Conquest of Argyll, the men of the Tribes of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh), Zebulun, Issachar, and Naphtali - the so-called "Jutes," "Angles," and "Saxons" - had already gained a footing in Southern and Eastern Britain, and were rapidly over-running that country, driving the Keltic Picts before them into the fastnesses of Wales and the "Horn of Gaul" (Cornu Gallia), i.e., Cornwall.
That these two simultaneous Invasions of Britain were simply fortuitous is a view that no student of Prophecy or sound Profane History can entertain for a moment. Both of these events "proceeded from the Lord," Whose "Thoughts are not our thoughts, neither our ways His Ways"; "Whose judgments are a great deep" and "Whose ways are past finding out!" (Gen. 24:50; Isa. 55:8; Psa. 36:6; Rom. 11:33). The truth of this position will abundantly appear as we proceed with our narrative. [Another practical reason is the demise of the Western Roman Empire.]
Zeargus or Feargus Mac Earca, the Great, first King of Ardgyll or Argyll, died in 497, and was succeeded by Dongard I. (497-513), who was as energetic as his illustrious father. This monarch pushed Northward still further, and extended the Kingdom up to the shores of Loch Etive, setting up the Provinces of Ardgour, Ardnamurchan, Sunnet, Moidart, and Morven. He also founded Don or Dun-Stephanage (Dunstaffnage), the crown or royal Dun or Court (Gr. Stephanos., "a crown"); and in the stronghold of this city (which remained the capital of Argyll for nearly three and a half centuries), were deposited the Sceptre of Judah and the Lia Fail, or Stone of Destiny, as the chief emblems of the Regalia of the Kingdom.
In the reign of Aidan (548-604; the fourth King of Argyll from Feargus Mac Earca), who ascended the throne when very young, the saintly Columba (a noble Irish monk who had left his own land as a penance), arrived, and set up his cell on the Holy Island of Hy or Iona (565). He speedily drew many disciples around him and founded a Monastery, which soon became famous for the holy character and learning of its inmates, and the Missionaries it sent forth among the idolatrous Picts in Caledonia (Galloway) and the heathen Angles of Northumberland. By Columba, King Aidan was induced to transfer the Lia Fail, or Stone of Destiny, to Iona; and, as his coronation had been deferred owing to domestic and foreign troubles, he was crowned upon it at that Island by the Saint himself.
First Conflict between the Scots and English.
A new and more formidable danger now loomed up in the South: for Ida, the "Flame Bearer," King of the Northumbrian Angles and his warlike son Ethelfrith, had burst into the Pictish Lothians and Kingdom of Strathclyde, and, driving the Kelts before them, were destroying everything in their advance.
King Aidan of Argyll now joined with the Pictish King, and their united forces advanced to meet the invaders, taking up a position on the border river, Esk, near to a place called Dawstone or Catterick; and here, for the first time in British history (603), the Scots and English came into conflict; and here also the Scots sustained the first defeat in their experience as a nation.
In the negotiations which followed, both Angles and Scots, to their mutual surprise, found that so many points in their speech and habits were so markedly similar as to preclude all question of imitation, and could only be accounted for by assigning some remote common ancestry as the origin of both peoples. And to-day, what some thoughtless folk are pleased to term the "broad Scotch dialect" is (as pointed out by Sir Walter Scott) none other than "the purest form of Anglo-Saxon speech to be heard throughout Great Britain." And, indeed, so completely have the memorials of the old Keltic domination disappeared from the Lowlands that a sculptured stone in the Kirk [Church] of St. Vigeans, near Arbroath, is the only known inscription in the Pictish language in the whole Kingdom!
A Treaty was made after the battle of Catterick - the Northumbrians retaining the Lothians and the Scots receiving the Northern part of the dismembered kingdom of Strathclyde; which included what are now the Counties of Cumberland and Westmorland. But good King Aidan died the next year (604), unable to support the defeat of his hitherto invincible arms. Eadwine, Ethelfrith's son, built a Dun or Fortress in the Northern Lothian, which he named Eadwinesburgh, or, as it was afterwards called, "Dunedin"; and this, under its modified style of Edinburgh, is now the renowned and magnificent Capital City of the Sister Kingdom.
Oswald, Eadwine's brother, gave his daughter in marriage to the Pictish Monarch, and from her were descended the later Pictish Kings - the last of whom left a princess as sole heiress; and she, marrying the Scots King of Argyll (Alpin), conveyed the fealty of all Pictish Caledonia to the Zarahite, Milesian, or Scottish House of Argyll. Fourteen (2x7) of these old Kings of Ard-giloh reigned in Argyll, at Dunstaffnage; of these, eight lie buried in the lone churchyard of Iona; their huge monuments, locally referred to as "The Black Stones of the Holy Irish Kings," were held in great awe and reverence by the natives - or, at least, they were so up to quite a recent period and an oath taken upon them being regarded as of peculiar sanctity; its non-fulfillment entailing a terrible curse.
From Samuel Johnson's (1709-1784) "A JOURNEY TO THE WESTERN ISLANDS OF SCOTLAND" - ICOLMKILL (IONA):
A large space of ground about these consecrated edifices is covered with gravestones, few of which have any inscription. He that surveys it, attended by an insular antiquary, may be told where the Kings of many nations are buried, and if he loves to sooth his imagination with the thoughts that naturally rise in places where the great and the powerful lie mingled with the dust, let him listen in submissive silence; for if he asks any questions, his delight is at an end.
Iona has long enjoyed, without any very credible attestation, the honour of being reputed the cemetery of the Scottish Kings. It is not unlikely, that, when the opinion of local sanctity was prevalent, the Chieftains of the Isles, and perhaps some of the Norwegian or Irish princes were reposited in this venerable enclosure. But by whom the subterraneous vaults are peopled is now utterly unknown. The graves are very numerous, and some of them undoubtedly contain the remains of men, who did not expect to be so soon forgotten.
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